FYS*101*25 Description

First-Year Seminar

Werewolves. Dragons. Zombies. Exploring these three types of monsters and their manifestations over the past thousand years, we will examine poetry, short stories, television, and film across cultures. What are the origins of these monsters? Who created them? Which cultural fears do they symbolize and express? How are they defeated? Most importantly, why do they still fascinate us? Our explorations will span from ancient Greece to medieval England, from Chinese folklore to Haitian anthropology, and to present day popular media such as iZombie and The Hobbit. Texts will include Beowulf, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Marie de France's "Bisclavret," and Zora Neale Hurston's Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. While we will primarily investigate using the tools of literary studies, we will also venture into interdisciplinary fields, such as zombie studies and ecocriticism. In addition to short papers responding to these works we read as a class, you will research, present, and write a paper on one mythical creature or monster of your choice. Working collaboratively, we will turn some of our monster stories into brief YouTube videos. This course will prepare you for your later coursework-as well as a lycanthropy outbreak, the zombie apocalypse, or a dragon attack, whichever comes first.